People usually go into the political game with the best intentions. Over time though some if not most become corrupted:
“Power tends to corrupt and absolute power tends to corrupt absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men” (James 2013).
I’m not saying they all do but there is an ever increasing majority that are corrupted or involved in a scandal.
For example, the 2013 scandal involving Peter Dunne, he is one of parliament’s longest serving MPs; he claims to be New Zealand’s political school prefect or choir boy, always whiter than white.
Peter Dunne last year was said to have leaked a top secret document to a female journalist, which resulted in him stepping down as a Minister; why would he have done that? Jane Clifton points out that
“It’s certainly not uncommon for new, young MPs to show off to journalists by swaggering about all the secrets they know. It’s much less common for seasoned MPs to do so, though many have reporters they trust, and are happy to give them briefings on a paw-print-free basis” (Clifton 2013).
There seems to be no real answer to why Dunne leaked documents; why would he have done such an unwise thing? Clifton points out that
“My best guess is that being a source can be quite ego-boosting, and it is part of a midlife crisis to seek ego-boosts from novel sources” (Clifton 2013).
This example of a Politician who made a senseless mistake for whatever reason, has tainted his political image forever. Political scandals and corruption have always been around, we are just hearing and seeing more about them through improved media reporting and the common use of blogs and social media.
One might observe that MPs private life and professional life is far more important today than it has ever been. Auckland’s mayor Len Brown has been subject to much media attention after details of his affair were released on a popular blogging site.
The media these days have become feral, they have a blood lust for scandals, and they especially seem to like political scandals. The general public seem to think that such political scandals highlight New Zealand’s politician’s tendencies toward corruption, and yes there has been some genuine cases. But we are among the least politically corrupted countries in the world. If we look at China and their record of political corruption, it seems to be a normal everyday event.
“Zhou, who retired in 2012, has reportedly been under virtual house arrest while the party investigates charges of corruption against him and his colleagues, Reuters reported, adding that putting Zhou on trial might be a double-edged sword because it may reveal some embarrassing facts about China’s elite and in turn affect the party’s image at home and abroad” (Shankar 2014).
We certainly don’t want that sort of behaviour in New Zealand politics, but it is slowly creeping in slowly. Take the recent Judith Collins scandal, she met with, and had dinner with Chinese officials describing them as ‘friends.’ These ‘friends’ of hers could help her husband’s company in China,
“Collins used the taxpayer’s dime and the privilege of Ministerial office to help out the company her husband works for, Oravida in Shanghai” (Gower 2014).
Judith Collins story seems to change week to week,
“Collins has claimed she was just dropping in at Oravida “for a cup of tea on the way to the airport”. (Gower 2014).
Does she think all New Zealanders are stupid, she didn’t ‘drop in for a cup of tea on the way to the airport?’ What else hasn’t she told the public? How do we know she didn’t get paid to show up at Oravida to have a “cuppa” and her picture taken? Maybe Miss Collins should shift to China and take up politics there because that’s how they do political business.
New Zealand politics are the least corrupt in the world; New Zealand as a country should be very proud of that. There will always be a bad apple however, like the case of Miss Collins.
New Zealand MPs get a large pay packet and allowances as remuneration for doing their job, some countries do not have that same pleasure, which helps push some politicians into corruption.
We as a society seem to be focused on scandals, whether it be royal; actors and of course political. The people who we have representing us in Parliament are only human they make mistakes just like any other person. But make no mistake we should not put up with corruption of any kind, and that is why behaviour by politicians such as Miss Collins should be made to face particular consequences if not asked to resign from their positions.
Clifton, Jane. 2013. Jane Clifton: Peter Dunne’s gobsmaking fall from grace:why would Mr Moderation even consider leaking the GSCB report? My best guess: midlife crisis. June 7th. Accessed April 11th, 2014. http://www.listener.co.nz/current-affairs/politics/jane-clifton-peter-dunnes-gobsmacking-fall-from-grace/.
Gower, Patrick. 2014. Opinion: John Key is scared of Judith Collins. March 11th. Accessed April 11th, 2004. http://www.3news.co.nz/Opinion-John-Key-is-scared-of-Judith-Collins/tabid/1382/articleID/335400/Default.aspx.
James, Walter A. 2013. John Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton, 1st Baron Acton. May 29th. Accessed April 14th, 2014. http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/4647/John-Emerich-Edward-Dalberg-Acton-1st-Baron-Acton.
Shankar, Sneha. 2014. China’s corruption probe could launch formal investagation against former security chief Zhou Yongkang. March 3th. Accessed April 11th, 2014. http://www.ibtimes.com/chinas-corruption-probe-could-launch-formal-investigation-against-former-security-chief-zhou-1558907.